So, there’s this family right. Mum, Dad, teenage son.
And they’re having dinner one night when the son casually mentions that time his lips went like, you know, blue.
And the mother, who’s mid-forkful of mac and cheese, goes, “WHAT!!!!”
And the son, who’s spooning food onto his plate goes … “Oh, I didn’t tell you. Yeah, me and (friend who shall remain nameless) decided it would be fun to put blue food colouring in our juice and, well, like my lips went blue; like a Smurf right.”
And the mother, who’s just so relieved that her darling, precious only child hasn’t suffered hypothermia, or taken some terrible drug (not saying that blue food colouring isn’t terrible, just not quite in the same league as Ecstasy or meth, or whatever).
And the kid goes, “yeah, like I told Dad cos he might check my browser history and …”
The mother is confused. “Why would that be a problem?”
“Well” says the son, “a couple of days later I was like, pooing green and like … WOW!”
And the mother is more bewildered.
“So I did a search to find out why it was green.”
“You searched the internet for ‘green shit’?”
“No, I Googled ‘why is my poo green?’ And I told Dad cos I didn’t want him to think I’m like pervy or anything.”
By now, the mother has given up any attempt to eat and is not-very silently weeping with laughter.
“And what did Google say?” She is trying really hard to act as if conversations about unnaturally tinted excrement happen in all families.
“Too much spinach, blue food colouring or intestinal parasites.”
The son has now finished dinner and is nonchalantly loading the dishwasher.
“I knew I hadn’t been eating spinach, and I’m really glad it was the food colouring. It said you treat intestinal parasites with a ‘simple colon cleanse.’ That’s putting stuff up your bum isn’t it?” By now he’s wandering off to plug himself back into his computer.
The serious reflection bit
Afterwards, the mother finds herself thinking about the conversation. She has been a very hands-on mother; parenting solo quite a lot while her partner travels on business. She has answered her son’s questions about sex, Santa Claus and how Grandad got his tractor home from the place he bought it. She has explained blow-jobs and why aeroplanes look like they’re going fast from the ground but don’t feel fast when you’re on them. Sometimes she has felt inadequate to answer the questions and other times she’s been exhausted by the sheer inquisitiveness of her child. But now she reflects on being replaced with Google, and is glad that she has been her son’s “go to” source of information for so long. She will miss the left-field questions that her son has thrown her, and hopes that occasionally he will still come to her for guidance.
Though she has to admit, she’d never have offered blue food colouring as a cause of green poo.